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"When Youíre Cutting with Horses, You Can Hear the Sickle Going."


Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
Posted in

June 25, 2001

The Art of Farming is a project of the Collaborative for Watershed Sustainability to gather stories about farm life in southeastern Minnesota before World War II. Stories have been gathered from individuals near Harmony, Lake City and Wells Creek near Red Wing.

"When Youíre Cutting with Horses, You Can Hear the Sickle Going."

My dad had a hard time letting go of farming with the horses. He had tractors and still he would cut hay with the horses. To him nothing was more fun that going out there and cutting hay all day with a team. You know when youíre cutting with horses you can hear the sickle going. You can hear everything. I have to think you could probably enjoy nature and everything more, donít you think? You could also daydream a little more because I think most horses had it figured out after a couple rounds.

The horses would know what to do and my dad was just answering. Then after we quit with the horses we still used the horsesí mower for the tractor. It was a lot easier and a lot more fun. Two people had to think together and itís hard to think together. We did more cussing and swearing at each other, because the guy in the back had to anticipate. I remember the time my brothers and I got into it out there. I was driving the tractor and I drove it wide open for a joy ride all the way home. He was hanging on for all he could. I finally dropped him at the end; he was dragging behind. But anyway, my dad kept using the horses when he could have used the tractor.

I have this great image in my head still from watching a cousin of mine cutting hay with a team. He got to the end of the row down by Lansing, Iowa and he pulled the sickle bar up and there was a rattlesnake caught in it! The horses ran away. Busted right through the fence, tipped the sickle over. It was a really spectacular image Iíll never forget.

~ ~ ~

When I was a kid, we had a horse named King. He was a Belgian, a huge horse. Iíd come in near his stall and heíd tease me. I had kind of a heavy coat, and sometimes heíd chomp right on my shoulder and hold me. You could just see the mischief in his eyes. And Iíd holler, "Leave go!" And he wouldnít let go. You know those chopper mitts? He could bite that mitten and never hurt me.

~ ~ ~

You know, even when we first had tractors it was still fun farming. You said you can remember holding the reins. Well, I can remember the first day my dad turned the tract .....
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Hoffman Stables

Niagara Cave

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Monday, June 11, 2001


Our guide flips a switch and plunges us into a darkness so black no eyes can see. It is cold down here over 200 feet below the surface. The roar of a 60-foot waterfall drowns all other sounds. Even those of us who ha ..... 
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"Come Hell or High Water"

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Monday, May 28, 2001

Weaver Dunes Field Report Ė Mid Spring 2001

Peepers and Chorus Frogs now sing in earnest from wetlands throughout Fillmore, Houston, Winona, and Wabasha Counties. The incredible din of these tiny inch long fr ..... 
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Planting Mania!

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Virginia CooperMonday, June 25, 2001

'What is one to say about June - the time of perfect young summer, the fulfillment of the promise of the earlier months, and with as yet no sign to remind one that its fresh young beauty will ever fade?' ..... 
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Stuck in the Mud

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Monday, June 18, 2001

This has been one of the wettest springs ever. Most of the rain didnít seem to fall heavily, just steadily. Farmers have gotten only a brief period of fair weather to get their crops planted. Most of the acres are planted ..... 
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The Death Penalty, with Chinese Characteristics

Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Monday, May 28, 2001

The European Parliament, considers capital punishment to be both barbaric and inhumane, regardless of the means by which the death penalty is carried out. They routinely mention the United States in the same breath as Chin ..... 
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Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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Fri, Jun 22nd, 2001
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